we cant FOIA congress
from miguel in the comments:
"In regards to your comment, "One odd thing that i noticed is that the spreadsheet is apparently 'unsorted' - by anything. ", I have looked closely at the spreadsheet and it appears to be sorted by 'last name'. Of course, since all the last names are blacked out, it is hard to tell that. But, if you look carefully across the years, you will notice, for example, some of the same first name/city combinations appearing in approximately the same page of each year's report, which means a 'last name' sort is most likely. For example, if Ms. Identa from St. Charles gives in multiple years to Hastert, and every year she appears on the first page of the report, we can hypothesize that her surname begins with an "A".thnx miguel.
In regards to the issue of the unitemized contributions not quite going up in the years we most expect, remember this: there were other "events" going on in Hastert's career that may have had an influence on his campaign finances. Most notably, in 1999, Hastert was plucked from obscurity to become House Speaker, so it is natural that all his campaign contributions would have increased, as he went from being "our Congressman Hastert" to "our most powerful Congressman in the House, Hastert".
So although it would strengthen the case against Hastert if we saw the unitemized contributions drop in 2000-2002, the fact that the unitemized contributions actually went up when the Turks apparently turned to more traditional bribery schemes can easily be explained by Hastert's increased visibility within his own community. In other words, it is quite possible that Hastert received a surge of legitimate, unitemized contributions after 1999 based simply on the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry in Hastert's home district wanted to be 'seen' at one of Denny's annual fundraisers."
i agree that we shouldn't look at these specific claims in isolation - although i was somewhat surprised that the averages appear to be quite constant - except for the 30% increase in 2001 which stands out like a sore thumb.
we have no way of knowing if the lists have been 'cleaned' - unfortunately we cant FOIA congress. grrr.